Sunday I attended a birthday party with my familia tica. It was the 78th birthday of one of my papa tico’s family members. Everyone in the family was invited. There was everything from sons and daughters of the birthday “girl “to grandkids to cousins to just friends of the family. We arrived a little after 11a.m. and already there were almost 15 people present. The moment we arrived we were welcomed into the home and offered coffee and juice as well as pastelillos (similar to chicken pot pies) and arepas (similar to sweet and savory pancakes). 
We made conversation with everyone we met and enjoyed listening to music as we ate. Food and music were huge parts of the entire day. Only mere hours after we arrived we ate a full meal of arroz con pollo, cubaces (large bean salad) and some type of beet salad. This meal was of course accompanied by more conversation and more coffee or juice. After we ate, many of us danced a little salsa, cumbia, bachata, and merengue. The best part of the day was watching the birthday girl dance the day away, moving like she was still 20 years old! Maria, the birthday girl, was unstoppable on the dance floor enjoying dances with people half her age or younger!
For dessert we enjoyed a bowl of arroz con leche and of course birthday cake. We sang happy birthday and I spent some time playing and dancing with the children outside. After dancing and conversing some more there was a piñata filled with candy for everyone, not just the children! The birthday girl been opened her presents and the rest of the day was spent dancing and talking. We only stayed for six hours. That time over 70 people were present for the festivities, but more people were expected to come.
This experience was completely different for me. I don’t think I have been to a birthday party this large in my life. It truly showed the unity of family that is present here in Costa Rica. I hope when I reach Maria’s age I will continue to enjoy life the way she does and spend my birthday’s like this, surrounded by all the people I love. My familia tica told my housemate and I that everything from the dancing we saw to the delicious food we ate was as authentic as Costa Rica can get.
This experience was truly the most Pura Vida experience I’ve had here this far!  

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